If anyone knows me, they know that my favorite show of all time is Californication. I’ve finished the series four times and it never gets old to me. I think my borderline obsession comes from the protagonist Hank Moody being a writer, who lives his life like a rock star, which is basically all I’ve ever wanted in life. Also the music is fantastic and I’m a huge soundtrack guy. The show also pushes boundaries that other dramedies didn’t push before it. Its the perfect mix of light hearted jokes, to completely ridiculous, yet hilarious and vulgar moments, to dramatic unforgettable moments in the show that really touch the soul. Another thing that’s great are the relationships. It’s not just a show about a guy banging a ton of girls, it goes much deeper than that. Hank’s relationship with his daughter is so meaningful with his hands off approach and letting her live her life, yet protecting her from life at the same time. Hank’s relationship with his baby mama Karen is great as well. They are both such cool people who truly care for each other and want it to work out but never does, although it gets a little old by the fifth season, but I’ll get into that later. Also Hank’s relationship with himself is great. He’s such a complex character, having achieved his dreams in life, yet somehow always fucking up what matters most to him, which are his relationships with Karen and Becca. His behavior is what makes him so loveable but simultaneously makes him his own worst enemy . I also love David Duchovny, and I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing Hank besides him. He was pursuing his PHD in English literature at Princeton University in real life, wanted to become a professor and teach English, while spending his summers writing novels, before he decided to try acting. The guy was just meant for this role. If you haven’t seen this show, its on Netflix and I highly recommend it. I also recommend if you haven’t seen it yet to stop reading here, because I’m going to start handing out spoilers and rank each season.
Season One through Four
So I basically view Californication as two different shows, and here’s why. There’s Californication Season one through four, then there’s Californication season five through seven. The reason I divide it into two parts is because season one through four is centered around Hank having sex with Mia in the first episode in season one, until his court ruling in season four over the sex scandal. Having Hank drive off into the sunset as his life and the movie being made about his life mix while ” You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones plays would have been the perfect way to end the show. The only thing is Showtime is a business so they obviously were trying to make as much money off the show as possible, so they ended up renewing the show an additional three seasons, and had to introduce new plot lines, and characters, which ultimately just didn’t have the same charisma and attachment as the characters and plots in the first four seasons. So I’ll start with ranking seasons one through four first.
#1 Season Two
I honestly loved the first three seasons pretty equally, so it was hard to choose but there’s something about season two that puts it ahead of the others, and I believe that something is Lou Ashby. Lou is by far the best guest character brought into the show and really brings out the rock star in Hank Moody. The bromance between these two is real and they each see something inside one another that they see within themselves, especially in that sorta weird episode where they take each others true loves on dates. They’re both talented, reckless, charming, and are straight rock stars.
#2 Season One
I literally cried tears of joy when Karen jumped into Hank’s car as they drove away with Becca, at Karen and Bill’s wedding. Fuck Bill by the way. This was the season that started it all, from the blow job from the nun in the opening scene, to the amount of girls Hank sleeps with, to finding out Mia is Bill’s daughter. This was classic Hank Moody, and also classic Runkel. It’s funny seeing Runkel’s demise from season to season and his love triangle with his assistant and Marcy was truly great in season one.
#3 Season Three
Hank becomes a Professor in season three and its great. He somehow manages to bang his student (whos a hot stripper on the side), his TA, and the Dean’s wife….truly incredible stuff to pull off. This season also ends on one of the most emotional sequences in television I’ve ever seen. Things are finally looking up for him. He’s going to move back to New York with Karen and Becca, which is his ultimate dream. Hank having sex with Mia finally comes back to haunt him though, where he ends up fighting Mia’s agent/boyfriend because her agent wants the world to know it was indeed Hank who slept with Mia, who was 16 at the time. Which is the plot of “Fucking and Punching”. Hank then comes clean to Karen.“Rocket Man” by Elton John plays while Hank and Karen scream at each other, and Becca has to witness Hank getting taken into custody by the police. Some really emotional stuff.
#4 Season Four
“Fucking and Punching” makes it to the big screen in season four which introduces new characters. I still thing Sasha Bingham is one of the top five, maybe top three girls Hank has sex with on the show. I also think Eddie Nero is fucking hilarious this season played by Rob Lowe. I already mentioned the ending so I won’t get into that but this was a great season all around. One of my favorite moments had to be Runkel completely choking in court and telling the story of Hank taking a shit on Bill’s car.
Season Five Through Seven
As I mentioned before, season five through seven just aren’t the same once the Mia story line ends. It reminds me of an athlete playing one too many seasons, you still watch him play because he’s your favorite player, but somewhere deep inside you just want to tell him to hang it up already, and that’s how I felt every season after season four.
#5 Season Six
Season Six is the most bearable of the last three seasons. Hank goes to rehab, and ends up writing a musical play for rock star Attikus Fitch. Faith is basically just a young Karen that Hank falls for. This season has some pretty funny story lines all around, and its cool how they bring in rock stars like Marylyn Manson.
#6 Season Seven
So everyone who I know that watched season seven hated Levon but I honestly didn’t mind him that much. I thought the scene where Hank buys him a hooker because Levon is a virgin was hilarious and is just classic Hank Moody. I also like Julia as well. You knew they were running out of material though when they just had to give Hank a son, but it was nice seeing Hank be more of a father figure since Becca slowly disappears in the later seasons. The season clearly caters way to much to modern day trends at the time, sort of like Shameless this season does.
#7 Season Five
Season Five I just absolutely hate. They take this huge time jump and everyone’s a bit older. Karen is now married, and Hank has to break up with his crazy girlfriend. I hate how they tried to incorporate Hip Hop into the show this season. One of the reasons why I loved this show was because of how inspired it was by Rock. Hank just keeps making corny/cringy jokes about rap and Samurai Apocalypse’s character is just straight ridiculous. I hated Becca’s boyfriend and how he was basically a younger Hank. Everything about this season I just did not like besides Megan Good.
So that’s my rankings. I definitely feel like season one through three could go in any order depending on your preference. If you just want to see Hank drink, do drugs and bang tons of girls then season one should be your favorite. If you want to see Hank become more a rockstar and you love Lou Ashby as much as me, then that should be your favorite. If you love Hank as a Professor, with him banging his stripper student, teaching assistant, and Deans wife, and having it all blow up in his face, then season three should be your favorite. I definitely think season four though belongs at four, and is still great in its own ways. Then season five through seven is basically not worth mentioning. I don’t hate it as much others because I just love Hank’s character, but season one through four were just so well written and the drop off is just such a difference.
If you like this content please tweet me @jlindahl1, follow me on Instagram @somedrunkwriter, share this post on Facebook, and comment on this blog. I’ll also be posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Thank you for reading!
P.S. I would kill to hear the lines ” I’VE GOT AN OFFER FOR YOU!” one last time.